Ever since I started making soap, I’ve been asked why? Why do I bother making soap when it can be bought so cheaply in the supermarket? Clearly, first and foremost I love doing it. You know what they say – ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. There’s much more to it than that though. Traditionally crafted, handmade soap like mine is superior to commercially made soap in so SO many ways.
*Please note, the reasons listed below apply specifically to MY soaps – they may apply to many other handmade soaps, but I can’t speak for the ingredients in anyone else’s handmade products
- It is vegan- (and therefore by definition, vegetarian-) friendly. I use no animal fats or derivatives, not even beeswax (which can be used in soap to give a harder bar). According to Vegan.com most commercial soaps contain some degree of animal fat derivatives (and look for sodium tallowate or sodium lardate on the ingredients list)
- I never use palm oil. Palm oil is a popular ingredient in both commercial and handmade soap (for good reason – it’s cheap, and makes great soap) However it is also extremely contentious, as palm oil production stands accused of the destruction of the South American rainforest, and of human rights violations due to the forced relocation of indigenous peoples. There are, of course, two sides to every story, and some soapmakers who do use palm oil have been able to source sustainable, ethically produced palm oil. There is also an argument that cutting out the use of palm oil completely could cause economic harm to those people who are employed within the palm oil industry. As I’ve never used it, this isn’t a concern for me. Palm oil will appear as sodium palmate on the ingredients list of a bar of soap should you wish to avoid it.
- My soap is never, ever tested on animals, just (very!) willing humans.
- Glycerin. GLYCERIN! Yep, I’m shouting. This is important. Glycerin is a byproduct of the soapmaking process, and is fantastic stuff. It’s a humectant, which means that it draws moisture from the air and helps lock it into your skin. It’s not technically a moisturiser, but it has moisturising properties. Commercial soapmakers almost always extract the glycerin during the production process for use elsewhere (eg lotions or nitroglycerin production). Glycerin is found naturally within every bar of traditional handmade soap and is one reason that people with sensitive skin CAN use handmade soap but can’t use commercial soap
- Traditional, handmade soap is…. soap. Obvious right? Well yes, except that some commercially produced soap isn’t soap at all. It’s detergent. Take a look at the packaging on a Dove Beauty Bar. You won’t find the word ‘soap’ on the label because actually, it can’t legally be called soap. It’s a combination of various ingredients put together to create a detergent that closely resembles soap in appearance. Clearly all those ingredients have been approved for use on the skin so it’s not necessarily inherently bad, but many of those ingredients can cause skin irritation.
- My soap does not contain parabens, sls/sles, phthalates. As above, these ingredients have been approved for use in skincare products, but they can cause skin irritation (and worse) to those with skin sensitivities, and many people will avoid them at all costs.
- My soaps do not contain triclosan or any other antibacterial compounds. The use of triclosan in soap has been banned in the US, but is still permissible in the UK/EU. It was claimed in the US that antibacterial soaps were no more effective than regular soap and water and they could even play a part in increasing antibiotic resistance.
- For many of the reasons listed above, my soaps are FAR gentler on your skin than commercially produced soap. If you are one of those people whose skin is sensitive to commercially made soap and you ‘can’t’ or ‘never’ use bar soap, please contact me via The Soap Mine FB page for a sample (UK only) – you may well find that you can use it without any of the problems that commercial soap can cause.
- Your skin WILL notice the difference. Do you need to use a moisturiser after washing your hands with commercial bar or liquid soap? You probably won’t after using my soap. The generous amount of cocoa butter and shea butter in each and every bar, along with all that lovely glycerin, will ensure that your hands feel clean, soft and moisturised after every use.
- My soap is made by hand, in small batches, with an awful lot of care and attention to detail. Yes, you will pay more for it than you would a bar of commercially made soap, but you know what? You absolutely get what you pay for.
There you go, 10 really good reasons why I believe my soap is better than commercially produced soaps. Try some 😀